European wholesale prices for Wi-Fi require Boingo to move global plan higher, restrict minutes: Boingo has a few tweaks in the works for its worldwide hotspot plans. The good news first: Their subscriptionless option, Boingo As You Go, will now include all the Americas at $8 per session. Central and South America used to have a higher charge. In neutral news, their unlimited US and Canada offering (Boingo Unlimited) remains $22 per month. Asia-Pacific As You Go pricing also remains the same, at $10 per day pass.
Now for the bad news: Boingo Global shoots up from $39 to $59 per month with a drop in minutes from 3,000 to 2,000; a 24-hour As You Go pass in Europe rises from $10 to $20. Boingo head David Hagan explained to me that the pricing in Europe has required this charge, because European operators charge by the minute for wholesale time. Hagan said that retail prices in European hotels and airports tend to be about 25 to 30 euros a day, far higher than most of the rest of the world.
"Ninety percent of our usage is less than 2,000 minutes per customer," Hagan noted, but that last 10 percent can be a killer. In hotels, "people get connected in a hotel and leave it up all night," which the hotel's Wi-Fi operators passes on as minutes used to Boingo.
As a transitional move, existing Global subscribers will get a year free of Boingo Mobile (normally $8 per month, and thus $96 for a year). They've started to send mailings to their Global customer base.
The Global plan launched about a year ago, and Boingo says that usage has been "extremely high," but that they're upside down in terms of what they're charging. Compared to other in-network plans in Europe, such as that offered by BT, Hagan says Boingo remains highly competitive for cross-network access. iPass, which has a similarly large worldwide footprint, although a broader business model, offers individual global plans for $45 per month, which also includes dial-up and some Ethernet connections.
On other fronts, Boingo software is now available for the top five handset makers' platforms worldwide. The firm is playing a bit of a waiting game with the iPhone, as they see whether Apple makes the necessary hooks available in its developer toolkit for Boingo to build the software package they'd like. Boingo's airport division continues to grow, too, Hagan says, where it provides both direct revenue and a conduit to distribute their software to business travelers.